It’s widely accepted now that 1 in 4 humans will be diagnosed with clinical depression in their lifetime. However, did you know that your cat can actually be depressed too? In the 1990s, researchers began noticing that pets can become depressed just like their humans. While it’s normal to feel a little blue sometimes, watch for the following symptoms if you are concerned. Kitty might have feline depression, and should be treated for it like any other illness.
Some symptoms of feline depression include:
- Your cat’s activity level decreases. Cats sleep a lot; however, they sleep even more when they are depressed. If your cat seems to lack energy and spunk, it might be caused by feline depression.
- Your cat has a loss of appetite. Loss of appetite is one of the symptoms of depression. If you notice large portions of food left in your cat’s bowl, it might be time to see the vet.
- Big lifestyle changes. Even the weather can swing a cat’s mood. The loss of a companion, adding a new person or pet to the family, or moving residences can result in cat depression and anxiety.
- Increase in meowing. Many times cats that are agitated will increase their vocalization by either meowing more or creating more noise. If you find your cat is causing more of a ruckus than usual, it might be due to feline depression. It is often a sign that he or she is in pain, whether physical or emotional.
- Increased aggression. Cats that have feline depression lash out against their owners more and could growl or hiss at you. This aggression may also take the form of the cat peeing or pooping outside its litter box. Many cats are relinquished because of litter box problems. Most litter box problems are symptoms of other problems that can be resolved. If the underlying problem is depression, this is one way he or she can tell you that something is wrong.
- Differences in grooming habits. Depressed cats may neglect to groom themselves. A well cat keeps itself well groomed. A cat with depression might let its coat go unmanaged and unruly. Likewise, Kitty might over-groom to the point of pulling out her hair. Symptoms on end of the spectrum can be signs of feline depression.
If you notice any of these changes in behavior, you should take your friend to the vet for a checkup. Describing your feline’s behavior to the vet will help him or her better understand your cat’s condition. Your vet will have the expertise to prescribe the necessary treatment.
Feline depression can be just as debilitating as a physical disability in a cat. It is important not only to get your cat checked if you recognize these symptoms, but also to continue caring for your cat. Some simple treatments can resolve the depression and give you your cat back.